View Full Version : The Reunion

05-17-2008, 07:44 AM
The Reunion
By John L Scardina Jr.

I left at precisely the same time I always did; wearing basically the same style clothes I always did, as my wardrobe contains all similar fashions. I walked to the corner and bought the news paper, just as I had always done. I had even nodded and said, “Hello.” or “Good morning.” to the same people I always had. (Funny I never knew their names.) With my paper folded under my arm, I entered the coffee shop in step with every prior day, but also with destiny. As I walked up to the counter to greet Alice, the server, and ask for my usual, something peculiar happened; Time seemed to slow down and I felt a strong sense of deja vu. (Not surprisingly.)

“Morning Alice.”

“Hi Frank, the usual?”

“Please honey, thanks.”

Standing there waiting for my elixir, I could not shake the feeling that I had done this before. The feeling in and of itself could be very easily understood, as my life is quite predictable and mundane, but I also had a sense of trepidation. Almost as if time itself had slowed down for me alone, slowed so that I could see it coming. I didn't know what “it” was yet but I knew it was coming. Alice returned and handed me my coffee. I handed Alice three bucks, cost plus tip, as usual. No more words were said. I exited the coffee shop and headed to my car which was parked just down the block. Walking up to my car, I placed my coffee on the roof, still holding my paper under my arm. I started to fish for my keys in my pants pocket. Still feeling a bit off, I looked into my car and, (Still fishing.) noticed the doors were unlocked. I had not left my doors unlocked over night for a long time. Thinking to myself how lucky I was it was still there; I entered it and settled in the driver's seat placing my coffee in its cup holder and the paper on the dash. Searching again for my keys, I finally felt a bulge in my left pant pocket, surprisingly it was my keys. I am right handed and I never put my keys in my left pocket. Before I could get the keys out of my pocket, I heard a knocking on my passenger side window. I jumped in my seat like a school girl at a Stephan King movie. I even let out some kind of a yell that scared me even more. The knocks seemed to slap time back into normal speed with a whoosh. I was surprised to see a uniformed police officer standing on the sidewalk next to my car. Embarrassed, I wondered if he heard my scream. Since he was apparently waiting to speak with me, I quickly got my keys out of my pocket, stuck them in the ignition, started the car and rolled down the passenger side window. The officer leaned slightly into my car and asked, “Frank? Frank Morta?”

“Yes.” I responded.

“I need to speak with you.” He stated.

“Did I do something wrong?”

“No.” The officer said. “It’s personal. Can I get in?”

I sat there for just a few seconds thinking; can a cop just get into someone's car? Then I realized he knew my name.

“Sure, come on in.” I said.

The officer opened the door and got in. After the door was closed he said, “What I have to tell you is going to sound crazy but it is important you believe me.” I assured him that I would.

“I am getting nervous about this; am I in trouble?”

“No.” The cop said. “Like I said Francisco, it is personal.”

The hair on the back of my neck danced. I was just about to speak when he added, “I know, only your Grandfather John called you Francisco.”

“Yes, that is right. And he's been dead for over ten years now.”

“I know.” Said the cop. “Your Grandfather John and I were friends and partners.”

I couldn't believe what I was hearing. “How could that be?” I asked. “My grandfather retired from the force a long time ago.”

The cop answered, “Let's just say I look good for my age.”

I then asked, “If you did work with my grandfather, why are you still in uniform?”

“I am going to a reunion of sorts.” He answered.

“A reunion early in the morning?” I asked.

“Yes Frank. I know it is awkward but that is how they scheduled me.”

Trying to take in all that was happening, I opened my coffee and took a long swig. As I drank I looked at the cop's uniform. The badge was very clean, yet it appeared to be of an older style. I also noticed that the cop's jacket was a double breasted coat with big silver buttons. His nightstick, which I saw him slide under the seat as he got in, was wooden and quite beaten. His silver name tag read, “O'Halloran. “

“Officer O'Halloran, what did you need to tell me or what do we need to talk about?”

“Turn off your car Frank.”

“I have to leave for work soon, I can't.”

“Frank, I know you own your own business and I know you have three people who open the store for you. You're the boss. You can be late and you will.” He then added. “Anyway, this won't take long. But I want you to turn off the car.” I shut off the car. Without looking at me Officer O'Halloran stated, “I spoke with your grandfather last night. I hadn't seen him in years. We talked about old work stories and laughed all night.” I sat expressionless and asked. “Officer O'Halloran, do you have a gun?”

“Of course I do. Why do you ask?”

“Because I think you are seriously crazy and the only way you're going to get me to stay here will be to threaten me with that gun.”

Only at this point did Officer O'Halloran look at me. He had big green eyes and short red hair under his uniform cap.

“I am not here to hurt you Frank. Please don't be afraid of me.” He paused a moment then added, “I just promised an old friend I would relay a message.”

“Ok then!” I stated probably too sternly. “What is the message from my dead grandfather?”

Officer O'Halloran slightly smiled and said, “Frank, your grandfather said he still loves you. He misses speaking with you and that he is always with you.”

I tried to be all macho and bite my lip as to not cry but the tears leaked out. I thought maybe if I didn't touch them Officer O'Halloran wouldn't notice, but he did. “It is ok to cry Frank. All men do, or at least they should. It is a human reaction.”

“Then tell me, just how is a man to act when a cop in a 1950's style uniform tells you he spoke to your dead grandfather?”

“I know how it sounds frank.” “But John said you and he had specific conversations about death and that you believe in life after death. Also that you asked your grandfather to come back or send you a message, telling you what it is like on the other side.”

I was numb at this point. The tears had stopped but now I was shaking.

“Frank he says it is so beautiful on the other side. He also said he is with his wife, your Grandmother Catherine. He even said she still cooks on the other side.” “He said he knows you carry a lot of guilt, even to this day. All because you think you didn't spend enough time with him near the end.” Still looking at me Officer O'Halloran added, “He wants you to know that that was ok because he was not really there for the last few weeks. He said he was in and out of consciousness and that the damned Morphine didn't help with his concentrating.”

“Frank he said he forgave you for something else also.” I was now crying again; shaking, sweating, a real mess.

“Frank, he said he forgives you for taking the five hundred dollars from his dresser drawer. He said all you had to do was ask for it, but he still forgives you.”

“Frank he wanted me to make it really clear to you that he loved the time he spent with you just before he got real sick.” At this point I believed every word O'Halloran spoke. I asked, “Please let me speak with my grandfather the way you did.”

“I'm sorry Frank but that can not be done, but there will come a day.” Through my tears I begged Officer O'Halloran. With sad eyes that were starting to tear themselves, Officer O'Halloran explained that they weren't his rules but rules from a much greater power. After that it seemed that we sat for about twenty minutes in silence. Officer O'Halloran finally said, “Frank can you drive me to my reunion? It is on your way to work.”

“Of course.” I said. O'Halloran and I tried to make small talk during our short ride. I do remember him saying that going to this reunion made him feel young again. After a while Officer O'Halloran started to fidget in his seat, trying to locate his night stick under the seat. I asked, “Should I pull over so you can get out and look under the seat?”

“Sure.” O'Halloran said. “That would be great.” I was close to an old cemetery entrance so I pulled in there to get out of the busy morning traffic. As Officer O'Halloran got out of the car he asked, “Did you read the paper today Frank?”

“No I haven't.” I responded. “But I think I will while you look for that.” It caught my eyes just as soon as I stretched out the front page of the paper. It wasn't the headline but rather a smaller article at the bottom of the front page. The title of the article read:

Retired Police Officer Assaulted In His Home And Left For Dead.

Next to the article were two pictures; One was of an old man, the man who was killed. The picture next to that one was a younger version of the same old man. I recognized O'Halloran's green eyes, red hair and his double breasted jacket immediately. It was at this point I knew I was alone again. Officer O'Halloran made it to his reunion after all.

Ves'Ka Gan
06-01-2008, 12:40 PM
I discovered, while a member of a small writing group that met at a bookstore, that I am very bad with critiquing other people's work unless there is something seriously wrong with it, so I'll say this:

I loved it! Very beautiful story. The only thing I would say, was that I saw the ending coming. I don't know if you meant for that to happen or not, so I'll throw that out there.

06-05-2008, 09:06 PM

I wouldn't say that I planned it but I knew it was going to be obvious as I wrote it. This was one of those stories that just kind of came to me so I really didn't want to change they way I first thought it.

Thanks again though, it really means a lot.